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Tymoshenko Charged for Gas Contract

KIEV — Ukrainian prosecutors on Tuesday charged former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with abuse of office for signing a gas import contract with Russia at prices that officials say were too high.

Investigators say the 10-year contract signed in January 2009 was ruinous for the Ukrainian economy and that Tymoshenko did not have Cabinet approval to sign it.

Prosecutor General’s Office spokesman Yury Boichenko said Tymoshenko’s actions cost the state 3.5 billion hryvna ($440 million) in damages. He declined further comment on the charges filed Tuesday and the possible sentence.

Tymoshenko also has been charged with corruption in two other cases. She says the charges are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych to crush opposition.

Also Tuesday, prosecutors accused Tymoshenko of hampering their corruption investigations. 

The Batkivshchyna Party said Tymoshenko was questioned at the Prosecutor General’s Office in a room guarded by dozens of masked police officers. 

Prosecutors said Tymoshenko had been allowed to leave after the meeting with investigators; but a court order was issued providing for her arrest at any time if deemed necessary.

(AP, Reuters)

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